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Maria Takolander

Maria Takolander

Maria Takolander is a Finnish-Australian writer, reviewer, interviewer, and independent scholar. She is the author of four books of poetry, the most recent of which, Trigger Warning (UQP 2021), won a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. Maria was also the inaugural winner of the Australian Book Review Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Competition and is the author of The Double (and Other Stories) (Text, 2013), which was shortlisted for a Melbourne Prize for Literature. Her website is (photo credit: David McCooey)

Maria Takolander reviews ‘Meanjin Vol. 67 No. 3’ edited by Sophie Cunningham

November 2008, no. 306 01 November 2008
The new Meanjin, edited by Sophie Cunningham, is exciting to behold. With its varied font, though, it runs the risk of being like Federation Square: striking to look at but difficult to negotiate. The small, faint font made this issue taxing to read. Perhaps younger readers, targeted by some of the content (such as the serialisation of a graphic history), will have less difficulty. ... (read more)

Maria Takolander reviews ‘HEAT 17: A Dodo Idiom’ edited by Ivor Indyk

November 2008, no. 306 01 November 2008
In an excellent essay on the poetics of art criticism in this issue, Robert Nelson writes of the nature of rapturous poetic perception: ‘Suddenly the world is larger, more meaningful … one reality gives onto another and the world is seen as an extension of the ways that you might imagine it.’ HEAT consistently provides its readers with opportunities for such aesthetic insights. ... (read more)

Maria Takolander reviews ‘Blue Dog Vol. 7 No. 13’ edited by Grant Caldwell

November 2008, no. 306 01 November 2008
Blue Dog, the Journal of the Australian Poetry Centre, has a democratic approach to Australian poetry. Submissions are judged anonymously by a team of editors from each state and territory. The journal, as the two reviews of small-press publications reveal, shows no preference for big names. The results, however, are mixed. Highlights include Andy Jackson’s ‘Severance’, which provides a mea ... (read more)

Maria Takolander reviews 'Thirst for Salt' by Madelaine Lucas

April 2023, no. 452 28 March 2023
While the terms ‘romance’ and ‘novel’ are entangled at their origins, romance novels have been traditionally disparaged as formulaic and frivolous, feminine and anti-feminist. Nevertheless, romance is the most popular genre in the world. Harlequin reportedly sells two books every second. In recent times, scholars have given the genre serious attention. Of course, a romantic plot is hardly ... (read more)

Maria Takolander reviews 'Totality' by Anders Villani

January-February 2023, no. 450 28 December 2022
Trauma is often said to be unspeakable. There are various reasons for this. Pain and shame are silencing, as are implicit forms of censorship (of the kind scorning trauma literature, for instance) and explicit injunctions against speaking (from perpetrators, enablers, or the law). But it is also the case that trauma doesn’t inhere in language. Trauma lives in the limbic system, which is that of ... (read more)

Maria Takolander reviews 'Antipodes vol. 20, no. 2' edited by Nicholas Birns, and 'Australian Literary Studies vol. 22, no. 4' edited by Leigh Dale

May 2007, no. 291 01 May 2007
In an essay for Australian Literary Studies (ALS) exploring the modernist networks of Judith Wright and Frank Scott, Anouk Lang argues that ‘participation in modernist little magazines … was crucial to their development as writers. Publication in these journals validated their tentative efforts and imbued them with confidence to move on to further ventures.’ It is a terrific recommendation f ... (read more)

Maria Takolander reviews 'Rose Interior' by Tracy Ryan

July 2022, no. 444 26 June 2022
Umberto Eco once described the text as a ‘lazy machine asking the reader to do some of its work’; to contribute, in other words, to the production of meaning. Poetry has a particular reputation for being demanding, but Tracy Ryan’s tenth poetry collection, Rose Interior, isn’t challenging in the way that Eco envisages. It is less about engaging readers in the masculinist energy of the ‘m ... (read more)

Maria Takolander reviews 'The Dark Part of Me' by Belinda Burns and 'The Pilo Family Circus' by Will Elliott

February 2007, no. 288 01 February 2007
A number of books have been published of late that theorise the function of literature in contemporary society (a trend indicative of an anxiety about literature in public culture, which is itself worth speculating on). In Why We Read Fiction: Theory of the Mind and the Novel (2006), Lisa Zunshine argues that reading provides us with cognitive practice for our lives as social beings, in which we a ... (read more)
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